Author: S.G. Heller
Fashion in Medieval France
How are we to distinguish between a culture organized around fashion, and one where the desire for novel adornment is latent, intermittent, or prohibited? How do fashion systems organize social hierarchies, individual psychology, creativity, and production? Medieval French culture offers a case study of "systematic fashion", demonstrating desire for novelty, rejection of the old in favor of the new, and criticism of outrageous display. Texts from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries describe how cleverly-cut garments or unique possessions make a character distinctive, and even offer advice on how to look attractive on a budget or gain enough spending money to shop for oneself.